EDMONTON - Head coach Tom Renney had planned on using the last game of the pre-season as a dress rehearsal — playing what would pretty much be his final roster in preparation for the regular season.
It’s not going to happen. The training camp battles are too close, so there’s one more day of auditions, instead.
“That’s a testimony to the players, they’ve made it difficult for us, forced us to keep a couple of players around that we want to have a look at,” said Renney, who has about eight bubble players in the lineup for Sunday’s date with the Flames.
It won’t all come down to these last 60 minutes, but a stand-out game either way — good or bad — could be the difference between Edmonton or Oklahoma.
“I think it comes down to the overall body of work (in camp), but we’ll keep an open mind to what the performance looks like and factor that in, no question,” said Renney, who will make the final cuts on Monday morning.
“As a coaching staff we’ll talk about every single guy that is here and how he fits the big picture as a group of 23 people, what the chemistry looks like. This is not just about biology, it’s about chemistry, and ultimately who will give us the best chance to win.”
As for the rematch with the Flames, Renney wants more push back than he saw at home in the 5-1 loss.
“We have to get in there and hold our own, make sure we can play our type of game and compete. Whether it’s Calgary, Anaheim or New Jersey, we have to make sure we’ve got this road look to us. This is an opportunity to practice that.”